Austrian Skydiver Gets Ready For The Ultimate Plunge

By Meera Dolasia on February 13, 2012

Word Search

In August 2012, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt a feat that has never been done before - freefall off a specially made capsule from the edge of space - 120,000 feet (23 miles) above earth or about three times the altitude that normal airplanes fly at.

Thanks to the lack of atmospheric pressure, his initial plunge down will be so swift that he is expected to break through the sound barrier within the first 35 seconds of his leap - This means that he will be coming down faster than the speed of sound which at that altitude is about 690 miles per hour. Felix will continue to freefall until he reaches 5,000 feet, at which point, he will open his parachute and glide back gracefully to his designated landing spot in New Mexico.

While the entire epic skydive is expected to take only 10 minutes, it has been in planning for over two years. That's because unlike normal skydives, this one needs a lot of special equipment, starting from the mode of travel, to a special suit and even, a custom parachute.

To go to the Earth's stratosphere, Mr. Baumgartner will travel in a pressurized capsule, which will be flown up by a 400 feet wide helium balloon. His journey to outer space is expected to take three hours.

Also pressurized will be the special suit he will be wearing. That's because the pressure at 120,000 feet about the ground is 1,000 times less than that at sea level, and without the protective suit, his blood would probably start boiling, because the boiling point of liquids drops as pressure decreases. The helmet of his suit has been made to not only protect him through the sonic boom - the sound he will hear as he pierces through the sound barrier, but also, have a heated visor and sun shield to ensure clear vision at all times.

Though the skydiver cannot practice the actual dive, he will be making two jumps from heights of 60,000 and 90,000 feet respectively, to test out all his specialized equipment.

Despite these precautions, there are a number of dangers this fearless adventurer may still encounter. The main risk of course is that his equipment fails. But even if it all works like a charm, there is the possibility that he may spin out of control when he jumps from the capsule, which could cause him to blackout. Felix is hoping that his 25 years of skydiving experience will come in handy and that his arms and legs will help him steer his flight.

Then there is always the danger that a blast of air will take him off course so that instead of landing at his destined landing spot in New Mexico, he could drift away and crash land. Finally, there is the danger of the unknown - Nobody has ever leaped from this high before, so there may be some risks that have been overlooked.

If all goes well, Felix will be breaking four records - the highest altitude freefall, the highest manned balloon flight, the longest distance traveled in freefall and, the speed record for the fastest freefall. The athlete is also hoping that his daredevil stunt will help provide scientists with valuable data on how humans will react when space tourism takes off and maybe, even open up the new extreme sport of Space diving!

While this mission may sound a little crazy, what is even more so, is that Felix is not the only one vying for it. Michel Fourmier, a 67-year-old retired US Air Force colonel is also planning a similar jump from an altitude of 25 miles or 132,000 feet!

What's even more stunning is that both men are trying to outdo a 50-year space diving record set by US Air-Force colonel Joe Kittinger, who leaped from 102,800 feet in 1960! We hope they both succeed in realizing their respective dreams.

Resources: Telegraph.co.uk, msn.com

Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
163 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • nick483
    nick483Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 3:40 am
    Awesome.
    • cc1107
      cc1107Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm
      wow
      • 123456789Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 11:15 am
        soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo awsome
        • 231252
          231252Friday, March 21, 2014 at 9:22 am
          sooooooooooooo cooooooooooooool
          • ster
            sterWednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:52 am
            That's cool what he did
            • DONTAFriday, March 22, 2013 at 7:06 am
              he wnnhanted to break recards to help scietest and to have a an extreme sport of space diving.
              • sophia88Monday, November 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm
                i loved this news it was so awsome
                • katrinad
                  katrinadWednesday, May 9, 2012 at 8:28 am
                  that is soooooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                  • MR.AWSOMEFriday, May 4, 2012 at 9:35 am
                    its sooo sad that it didnt work the frist time :(
                    • abbyTuesday, April 24, 2012 at 10:23 am
                      that is awesome! i wish that i had a baby like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      Vocabulary

                      designatedfeatpressurizedstratospherevying

                      Geography

                      AustriaNew Mexico, USA

                      Most Popular Articles

                      Video Of The Week - Are Lions Losing Their Edge?
                      World's Biggest Spider Weighs As Much As A Newborn Puppy
                      Just In Time For Halloween - A Real-Life Ghostbuster!
                      Veterans Day - Honoring All Who Served
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                      Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                      Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?
                      Video Of The Week - If Frozen Was A Horror Movie . . .

                      Latest Comments

                      happypug12
                      happypug12 wrote:

                      Cool! I love to use stuff that ...
                      Ingenious Design Transforms Card...

                      meep wrote:

                      wow this is awesome i love to di...
                      The World's Deepest Pool Is Scar...

                      plin
                      plin wrote:

                      That is so awesome!I wish I am i...
                      A School With No Classrooms Or G...

                      ALA